Could the Old Firm ever compete across the border?

January 19, 2013

“The way forward for Scottish football is still somewhat blurred. League reconstruction talks have stalled while the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Premier League tear themselves apart from the inside. All parties agree change is needed, but that remains the only thing they can agree on. So considering the state of the Scottish game, is it time that Scotland’s two biggest and most supported clubs, Celtic and Rangers (known as the Old Firm), took care of themselves? Could a move to the Premier League finally come to pass? Ultimately, the chasm between the Old Firm and the rest of Scottish football is now unbridgeable.” ESPN

A good blend of youth and experience is the key to success

January 17, 2013

“The Frank Lampard affair which seems all too likely to spill over into the John Terry and Ashley Cole contretemps brings into focus again the whole complex matter of age. Who is too old and who too young for success in a football team? It is that once elegant centre back for Scotland and Liverpool Alan Hansen who has told us on television ‘You’ll win nothing with kids’.” World Soccer – Brian Glanville

For the Sake Of Playing

December 29, 2012

“On Saturday, December 29th 2012, two football clubs from Glasgow will take to the pitch at Hampden Park to play the unlikeliest of matches. Glasgow derbies attended by tens, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of spectators around the time of New Year have been a tradition in Scottish football for well over a century, and yet this fixture will not feature a certain world-famous team in green and white hoops. It will be an older, more historic fixture, all but forgotten prior to the extraordinary 2012-13 Division Three season, and shall provide a strange and fascinating insight into how Scottish football might have developed in a parallel universe, where Queen’s Park FC had not held on in the face of changing times and priorities to its cherished amateur status, and had cleaved to its place as the country’s pre-eminent and most innovative football club.” In Bed With Maradona

2012-13 Scottish Premier League

December 21, 2012

“This post is a continuation of my recent new category, ‘Eng-Map/Attendance/Kit Badges’, which is now called ‘Engl. & Scot. – Map/Attendance/Kit Badges’. I decided to open up the category to include Scottish clubs because in my first post in this category, {which was on the 2012-13 Premier League here}, I mentioned Celtic and Rangers right off the bat (in the third paragraph in the above link). And I don’t have any other category which includes both English and Scottish clubs, so I thought I should have at least one. The essence of this style of map is the depiction of facsimiles of each club’s current home jersey badges, and those badge-facsimiles can be seen at the top of the map page (with the clubs placed in alphabetical order). From Historical Football Kits, ‘Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League 2012 – 2013 [the kits of all 12 Scottish Premier League clubs]‘. billsportsmaps

Barcelona’s bogey team?

December 10, 2012

“Celtic made waves across Europe with their Champions League group stage win over Barcelona. While the result was a notable upset, it was in keeping with the Catalan side’s decidedly average record against teams from Scotland. Curiously, in 18 contests Barca have won six, drawn five and now lost seven against Scottish opposition. The Bhoys’ recent triumph was their second against the side from the Nou Camp, following on from a first-leg win in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup which helped them progress to the last eight of the competition. Back in season 1960/61 meanwhile, Hibernian’s 3-2 victory at Easter Road clinched a 7-6 aggregate win in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup quarter-finals. However, when it comes to taming Barcelona, one Scottish team have a record that many bigger clubs can only dream of.” World Soccer

Hamilton Academicals: a template for the future of Scottish football?

December 3, 2012

“Craig Levein. Judging by how the post-game talk was dominated by whether the Scottish FA should replace him or not when Scotland lost to Belgium in the World Cup qualifying stage, a defeat that left them bottom of their group with just two points, you would think that pointing at the manager was all that was needed to identify the reasons behind this dire situation.” World Soccer

Hamilton Academical: The Future Of Scottish Football Is Here

November 16, 2012

“Craig Levein. Judging by how the post-game talk was dominated by whether the Scottish FA should replace him or not when Scotland lost to Belgium in the World Cup qualifying stage, a defeat that left them bottom of their group with just two points, you would think that pointing at the manager was all that was needed to identify the reasons behind this dire situation. Yet, for all Levein’s defects and mistakes, the fault lines of Scottish football lie much deeper than the manager’s role. For a nation that once produced world class players like Kenny Dalglish and Dennis Law, Scotland now struggles to produce players who are even remotely close to that level. There are many reasons for that, yet one of them has to be the lack of vision shown by clubs. Few have dared to be innovative; fewer still have been brave enough to build their teams around the players coming through their system.” In Bed With Maradona

Rangers: A Warning From History

October 18, 2012

“The contrast between the current public profiles of the Rangers FC’s Chief Executive and Chairman could not be greater. While the former, Charles Green, has a love of his own voice only matched by his disregard for telling the truth with it, the latter, Malcolm Murray, has largely – and wisely, to judge by his few public utterances – kept his own counsel. With Green taking time out to re-charge his bullshit batteries before the media onslaught in support of the new club’s Alternative Investment Market flotation, Murray last week became the defender of the Rangers faith, deploying what you might describe as a far subtler form of Green’s modus operandi for dealing with criticisms of the Rangers – blame everything on the ‘enemy’; if, that is, you thought Murray intellectually capable of subtlety.” twohundredpercent

Six Managers Better For Scotland Than Craig Levein

October 16, 2012

Gordon Strachan
“At the time of writing, Scotland prepare to face Belgium as part of a World Cup qualifying campaign already in tatters after dire draws with Serbia and Macedonia and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Wales. Craig Levein’s coat hangs on the shakiest peg at Hampden Park, and only a remarkable result in Belgium could possibly save him – even that may not be enough. Scotland’s plight is deep-rooted: not so long ago they became the first ever nation to qualify for five consecutive World Cups but with the exception of the odd respectable if ultimately futile campaign, they’ve since slid ever backwards.” Sabotage Times

To Boo Or Not To Boo? Why There Is A Time & Place For Dissent

September 6, 2012

“Three games into the Premier League season, the distinctive sound of burning pitchforks is in the air. Without a win from the six matches that they have played between them, both Andre Villa Boas and Brendan Rodgers are already being cast into a familiar mould – that of the hapless managerial failure. Both are managers whose appointments carried an element of risk about them. Villa Boas excelled at Porto in a way that few other managers have in recent years in coaching this team to the Europa League and the Portuguese championship, but his stock fell with his turbulent spell at Stamford Bridge, while Rodgers arrival at Liverpool came off the back of success at Swansea City but a nagging concern that his name might not be of the pedigree that supporters of that particular club might have expected.” twohundredpercent

The Scottish Premier League, A Brief Preview

August 6, 2012

“The Scottish Premier League kicks off its fifteenth – and conceivably its last – season this weekend, after a summer when off-field issues have dominated, and the repercussions of which may yet have major consequences on the season ahead. It makes it similtaneously the most predictable, and in other respects the most unpredictable, season in the SPL’s history.” twohundredpercent

Raith Rovers: Kings Of Europe 1922

July 30, 2012

“When the dust settled on a difficult season last term for Scottish First Division side Raith Rovers it seemed that most fans were accentuating the positives. The final quarter of the season saw the team second only to champions Ross County in terms of consistency and points won, survival was finally guaranteed with a game remaining and a final day flourish in Greenock against Morton saw the team finish in a respectable seventh position.” In Bed With Maradona

Holy War

July 24, 2012

“The Miseducation of Claudio Reyna ended abruptly in late April. Reyna, the U.S. soccer team captain, had just joined the Scottish powerhouse Glasgow Rangers, and one chilly afternoon he wore a green sweatshirt to practice. That’s all it was, a simple green sweatshirt. To Glaswegians, though, the sport they call fitba is never simple, and if you’re on Rangers turf, donning green—the color of hated rival Glasgow Celtic—is like wearing a yarmulke in Gaza or a Bulls jersey in a Crips hood. ‘What are you doing, Claudio?’ said teammate Ian Ferguson. ‘Get that off you!'” SI: Holy War

Rangers make history out of chaos
“Rangers created history by winning the title at Celtic Park in a stormy Old Firm game which saw referee Hugh Dallas injured by a missile thrown from the pitch. One of the game’s few homegrown stars, Neil McCann scored two of the goals to give Rangers a first championship win in their rivals’ ground. But his contribution is probably the only consolation to the country’s football authorities after disgraceful scenes inside the ground. Television pictures beamed around the world showed referee Hugh Dallas with blood seeping down his forehead after being struck by a missile thrown from the crowd.” BBC

YouTube: Video Highlights Old Firm May 1999, Celtic Rangers May 1999

Soccer’s Most Dangerous Rivalry, Celtic v Rangers

July 7, 2012

“ produce fantastic, well-made documentaries, and their latest product has been to shine a light on the bitter rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. With all the commotion engulfing the blue half of Glasgow at present, the documentary enables viewers to peek through the looking-glass at one of the oldest hatreds in world football: a hatred that could well be a thing of the past should Rangers collapse amidst their current turmoil.” 101 Great Goals – Football’s Most Dangerous Rivalry (Video)

Old Firm
“The Old Firm was the collective name for the Glasgow football clubs Celtic and Rangers. The origin of the term is unclear but may derive from the commercial benefits of the two clubs’ rivalry. The two clubs are the most successful in Scotland, between them having won 97 Scottish League championships, 68 Scottish Cups and 41 Scottish League Cups. Interruptions to their ascendancy have occurred infrequently, most recently with the challenge of the New Firm of Aberdeen and Dundee United in the first half of the 1980s. Since the 1985–86 season one half of the Old Firm has won the Scottish League and since the 2005–06 season the Old Firm have finished in the top two places.” W – Old Firm

Rangers: The Good, The Bad & The Loopy

April 13, 2012

“You can say what you like about Scottish media coverage of Rangers’ financial crisis but you’re certainly spoilt for choice. Unfortunately, that choice is all-too-often between parallel universes, with a tangential universe thrown in every time club owner Craig Whyte is within range of a microphone (Whyte’s common criticism of HMRC as “living on a different planet to the rest of us” is top-of-the-range irony, I’m sure you’ll agree. The announcement of the shortlist of Rangers’ bidders and the administrators’ report to creditors on consecutive days last week provided plenty of scope for media sources to reveal their contrasting takes on affairs, and their common ignorance.” twohundredpercent

Sone Aluko inspires Rangers to victory over nine-man Celtic

March 25, 2012

“There will surely never be another Old Firm occasion as curious as this. Five goals and three sendings-off almost seemed like minor details. Celtic crossed Glasgow looking to take the victory which would confirm their status as the champions of Scotland. By full-time, the Rangers support celebrated as if they had secured the league flag and the visiting contingent bounced around while pointing out the wider reality. In this city, one-upmanship takes on an altogether new meaning. Supporters of the two city rivals simply love any opportunity to hurl abuse at each other, and most certainly to gloat.” Guardian

The Joy of Six: the Old Firm
“Six classic Glasgow derbies, including a title decider, two cup finals, 31 goals, a riot – and four players being charged by the police” Guardian

Green shoots of recovery for Scotland?
“Spanish-born Jack Harper, a midfield star in Real Madrid’s illustrious academy, and Chelsea Under-18 forward Islam Feruz, are two players at the forefront of a new wave of gifted Scottish youngsters that also includes West Bromwich Albion’s Scott Allan, Falkirk’s Craig Sibbald and Celtic’s James Keatings.” World Soccer

Going South? Celtic & The English League System

March 19, 2012

“It is one of the most commonly recurring stories of modern football. Should Celtic and Rangers be allowed to leave the Scottish league system and join the English football league system instead? It’s an emotive subject, for sure, and it’s one that seems to divide both supporters and administrators, with the only people that are certain of which way they would like to go being those that run Glasgow’s two giant clubs, who would like to utilise the vaster resources that would be open to them as a result of being in the more lucrative English system than they would get from remaining in England.” twohundredpercent

Rangers’ Nightmare Week

February 18, 2012

“This week, Alex Salmond held discussions with David Cameron about the terms of a referendum on independence, and Cameron launched his own pleas in defence of the Union. It’s a story that has been dominating the headlines for weeks in Scotland – not unreasonably – but this week, Cameron was unlucky with his timing. His speech got some cursory coverage, and the rest of the news, as it has been since Monday afternoon, has been wall-to-wall Rangers.” twohundredpercent

Ten questions for 2012

January 11, 2012

Borussia Dortmund celebrate
“As the major continental leagues resume following the winter break – Serie A and La Liga returned to action over the weekend, with Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga set to follow suit in the next fortnight – Pitchside Europe looks at ten issues that will help determine the balance of power across Europe in the 12 months ahead.” Eurosport

Celtic beat Rangers 1-0 in the second El Glasico of the season

December 30, 2011

“The second Glasgow derby of the season saw Neil Lennon’s Celtic side take all three points as they beat Rangers 1-0 to leapfrog them into top spot, after turning around a 15 point deficit from the 5th November to go two points clear. Welshman Joe Ledley scored the only goal of the game in what was a deserved win for the Parkhead side.” Scotzine

Bhoys are back in town

November 30, 2011

“This week, Celtic start to show their credentials and there is a further recurrence of the depressing violence directed at Old Firm personnel.” ESPN

‘Slim’ Jim Baxter and a Game Of Three Card Brag

November 12, 2011

“Vienna, 1964. It is a bitingly cold December evening. Snow has cascaded down upon the Austrian capital over the past week or so. Just to the west of the very heart of the city, groundsmen at the Praterstadion have been working feverishly, fighting against the chill, to clear the pitch of its newly acquired white blanket. Their efforts are successful but, in its wake, the snow leaves behind a meddlesome, sticky field. The upcoming second leg of the European Cup second round between Austrian champions Rapid Vienna and Scottish champions Rangers looks set to be an ugly affair.” In Bed With Maradoma

Woe Flowers of Scotland

September 16, 2011

“Scottish football is in crisis. With Scottish clubs exiting European competition even earlier than usual, fans and the media are mourning the latest ‘death’ of the national sport. Newspapers and radio phone-ins are leading the now annual debate asking ‘where do we go from here?’ There’s no disputing that change is required. League reconstruction (discussed here previously) and a massive shift in attitudes and approach are long overdue, but that’s a conversation for another time.” Just Football

Without Question – Kenny Dalglish for Liverpool, Celtic and Scotland

September 12, 2011

“It’s entirely conceivable that you are from a generation that never witnessed Kenny Dalglish’s first stint as manager at Liverpool in the 1980’s, not to mention his heyday as a player at Anfield and Parkhead. But the Scotsman oversaw a fine team and the 1988 vintage featuring Beardsley, Barnes and Aldridge was tremendous fun to watch. A hugely underrated side in our opinion, which was sadly denied the opportunity to challenge the AC Milan of Marco Van Basten due to a ban on English clubs in Europe at the time.” In Bed With Maradona

World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, August 26th

August 28, 2011

“Champions League draw. All eyes were on Monaco yesterday as the draw for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League took place. The annual ritual whereby Europe’s elite discover the identity of the fodder they will consume throughout the autumn months, has long since lost its lustre. However, big spending Manchester City ‘s entry into the competition for the first time, did at least offer the unusual prospect of one or two interesting group matches.” World Soccer (Video)

North of the Border

August 24, 2011

“Until his death in 2008 after a long illness, Eddie Thompson ensured Dundee United were competitive at the top of the group of teams below the Old Firm in the SPL. A supporter of the club, financially as well as in the stands of Tannadice even before he took control, he used his personal fortune to stretch the budget of United. It is a model of ownership and investment that relates to dozens of club in UK football and hundreds around the world.” ESPN

Romanov’s Battle For Hearts And Minds

August 18, 2011

“Oscar Wilde, the famous Irish playwright, was not known for his love of sport, but his warning “to expect the unexpected” could certainly apply to the world of football, not least at Heart of Midlothian, where the colourful owner Vladimir Romanov continues to resist the path of predictability. Just two games into the Scottish Premier League (SPL), the volatile Lithuanian decided to sack the club’s manager Jim Jefferies, replacing him with the former Sporting Lisbon manager Paulo Sérgio. The popular Jefferies was in his second spell as Hearts manager after a ten-year absence, retaining much goodwill for delivering the Scottish Cup in 1998, ending 36 years without a trophy.” Swiss Ramble

The Wasps Searching For Their Sting

August 15, 2011

“It was November 21st, 1999. The setting for The Bell’s Scottish Challenge Cup Final was Airdrie United’s Excelsior Stadium, which was only opened a year before. The freezing cold North Lanarkshire air was spiced with anticipation. There was a slaughtering wind and a furious rain accompanying the night but Terry Christie’s Alloa Athletic and Steve Paterson’s Inverness Caledonian Thistle were in no mood to let the ghastly weather conditions ruin the momentous occasion.” In Bed With Maradona

Scottish Premier League 2011-12: Season Preview

July 29, 2011

“The whole of Europe is eagerly awaiting the new Scottish Premier League season which kicks-off on 23rd July. Well – no, actually they’re not. Not surprising really, given that the last campaign turned out to be a truly horrible affair for so many reasons. Hopefully this year will be more about players, teams and results, rather than referees, politics and death threats. Here’s a look ahead to 2011/12…” Just Football

Motherwell 0 – 3 Celtic

May 23, 2011

“Neil Lennon picked up his first trophy as Celtic manager with a comfortable Scottish Cup final win over Motherwell at Hampden Park. Ki Sung-yueng opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a wonderful drive and Mark Wilson’s shot in the 75th minute, which deflected off Well skipper Stephen Craigan, put the Parkhead men into an unassailable lead. Charlie Mulgrew’s wonderful free-kick with two minutes remaining brought an even more positive end to the Irishman’s first season as permanent boss – which, to say the least, has been troubled.” ESPN

Scottish football reaches a new low

May 15, 2011

“For the second time in a month, Scottish football is making headlines around the world. Unfortunately, the first time was because ‘viable’ explosive devices were posted to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and high-profile Celtic fans. The second occurred when Lennon was assaulted by a Hearts fan on the Tynecastle pitch on Wednesday night, as if in a deliberate attempt to prove that this level of football hatred is not unique to the west coast, and that, in terms of football, Scotland is not a civilised country.” WSC

Rangers 0-0 Celtic: It’s in Celtic’s hands now despite stalemate

April 25, 2011

“The Seventh and final Glasgow Derby of the season ended in a stalemate. Chances were few and far between, but Celtic had a glorious opportunity to secure all three points late on as they awarded a penalty. However Greek International Georgios Samaras was denied by a great save from Rangers keeper Allan McGregor. Despite the game ending all square, the league title is Celtic’s to lose. Rangers may be a point ahead, but Celtic have a game in hand against Terry Butcher’s Inverness Caley and even if they take a draw from that game, the Parkhead side would go top on goal difference. If a win was secured then Celtic would lead by two points with four games left remaining of the season.” Scotzine

Celtic 1-2 Rangers

March 21, 2011

“The Celtic fans showed their support to the team by a Green and White display before kick off, that spanned the whole East Stand of Hampden. There was banter aplenty also as legends from both sides took to the touchline with each group of fans booing the other side and vice versa.” Scotzine

Celtic 1-2 Rangers – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Scottish League Cup
The 90th Minute

When Mingorance Was Bliss

March 4, 2011

“Llanelli have enjoyed success from being one of the most consistent teams in the Principality Welsh Premier League over the last few seasons. The West Wales side have not finished outside of the top three in the last five seasons and in 2008 they were crowned Welsh Premier League champions. In each of the last four campaigns they have boasted the Welsh Premier’s leading goalscorer in Rhys Griffiths and the striker is currently challenging for an unprecedented sixth consecutive golden boot award despite the side occupying an unfamiliar fourth place as they head into the business end of the season.” In Bed With Maradona

Paranormal Activity: SPL-Style

February 21, 2011

“You’ve probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle. It’s a patch of water in the North Atlantic Ocean where scores of ships and planes have mysteriously vanished. Some put it down to the area’s unpredictable weather. Others say that it’s magnetic variations meddling with navigation equipment. While some, the genuine believers, say that it’s a supernatural phenomenon. But what’s this got to do with football? Well, Scottish football has its own Bermuda Triangle, a sequence of mysterious events that are hard to explain.” In Bed With Maradona

Celtic 3-0 Rangers: Celtic better all over the pitch

February 20, 2011

Gary Hooper
“Celtic extended their advantage at the top of the SPL with a dominant performance. Neil Lennon left out Anthony Stokes, and brought in Georgios Samaras to play upfront. Walter Smith again used Kyle Bartley ahead of the back four, and played El-Hadji Diouf and Steven Naismith either side of the midfield (whereas in last weekend’s 6-0 over Motherwell, Diouf played just off the striker in a 4-2-3-1).” Zonal Marking

Celtic 3 – 0 Rangers
“Gary Hooper grabbed a double as Celtic strengthened their grasp on top spot in the SPL with a 3-0 win over Rangers. Kris Commons was also on target once again in the Old Firm derby as the Hoops moved eight points clear at the summit. The victory puts them beyond the reach of Rangers for now, regardless of the outcome of their rivals’ two games in hand.” ESPN

Celtic 3-0 Rangers (Old Firm derby) – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – SPL
The 90th Minute

1930s Month: Scottish football in review

January 26, 2011

“It would be wonderful to look back at Scottish football in the 1930’s and tell tales of Hearts and Hibs domination or Aberdeen and Motherwell winning the treble, but that’s just not the case. The final table from 1931 looks very much like the table today, Rangers winning the league by two points over their Glasgow rivals. It’s interesting to note, however, that the third team in Scotland’s second city, Partick Thistle, came fourth that year.” The Equaliser

Revolution not Evolution? How to reform Scottish football

January 14, 2011

“Rangers, Celtic, Rangers, Celtic. Is it time for serious structural reform in Scottish football? William Heaney takes us through the options.” Just Football

The Old Firm Must Stay Relevant

January 7, 2011

“Scottish football needs to change & IBWM’s latest debutant feels the recent Old Firm derby was symptomatic of exactly that. Welcome Graeme Crawford” In Bed With Maradona

Rangers 0-2 Celtic: Samaras settles an otherwise quiet Old Firm derby

January 4, 2011

“Georgios Samaras scored his first two goals of the season to hand Celtic an important victory. Walter Smith replaced Steven Naismith with Jamie Ness, who came into the centre of midfield, pushing Steve Davis to the right, and Steven Whittaker switched to the left. Elsewhere, it was unchanged from Rangers’ previous game, in the 4-4-1-1 shape Smith has favoured in recent weeks.” Zonal Marking

It’s never too old – Lubo Moravcik

January 2, 2011

“Barely had the dust settled from another round of SPL fixtures when news came in that Celtic had completed the signing of a new midfielder. Freddie Ljungberg the ex-Arsenal and Seattle Sounders player had signed on a free transfer. The timing of the move meant the possibility of a debut in Sunday’s Old Firm game.” gib football show

Video of the Week: Only a Game, the Story of Scottish Football, Part 4: The Game

December 17, 2010

“We’re up to the fourth of our five episodes of the 1985 BBC Scotland documentary series, “Only a Game? The Story of Scottish Football”, this evening, and tonight’s episode is on the subject of “The Game” itself. This episode shines, possibly more than any other in the series on the strength of its archive footage. It shows brief highlights of the tense, last day of the season title win for Kilmarnock in 1965, when they needed to beat Hearts by two goals in order to become the Scottish champions, Hibernian beating Celtic to win the Scottish League Cup and even some of the goals from Stirling Albion’s remarkable 20-0 against the amateurs of Selkirk in the 1984/85 Scottish Cup. As ever, our eternal thanks go to the original uploader.” twohundredpercent

Video of the Week 2: Only a Game, the Story of Scottish Football, Part 3: The Player

December 8, 2010

“It’s time for another video, and tonight we return again to the 1985 BBC documentary series ‘Only A Game – The Story Of Scottish Football’. For the third part of this series, the focus is upon the player. The development of the player himself is particularly key to the growth of the game in Scotland. During the 1880s, many of the the first professional players to come into the new powerhouses of the English game were brought south from Scotland on account of their superior technical ability, and throughout the entire history of the game in the British Isles we have been fortunate to see such great players as Jim Baxter, Kenny Dalglish and Jimmy Johnstone, amongst many, many others. This video is divided into five parts, and our thanks go to the original uploader.” twohundredpercent

Scottish Refereeing: The Battle For Hearts and Minds (And Compensation)

December 2, 2010

“After a week of chaos in the world of Scottish football, and with an enforced rest coming up due to the weather, it’s time for all parties to take a step back and take stock of the situation. On the SFA’s side, the two men at the centre of the controversy have now gone – one sacked and one resigned, although in the latter case it’s difficult to see that referee Dougie McDonald had much option, the only issue was about the timing. Opinions varied on how serious was his offence in telling his “white lie” to both Neil Lennon and to the refereeing supervisor. I’ve give my own opinion in previous articles and don’t intend to go through it again; but whatever the initial rights and wrongs, it was clear that his continued presence, and the continued media focus that would accompany his every match and his every mistake, was becoming a hindrance to the cause of his colleagues.” twohundredpercent

Video of the Week: Only A Game, Part Two: The Manager

November 30, 2010

“We’re moving onto Part Two of the 1986 BBC series ‘Only A Game’ this evening, and this week’s episode focusses on the role of the manager within Scottish football. There can be little doubt that, at the very least between the 1950s and the 1980s, Scotland provided some of the greatest football managers that the world game had to offer. Unsurprisingly, this episode of the programme focusses in part on Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein, as well as taking a look at the swash-buckling young manager of Aberdeen at the time, one Alex Ferguson. Narrated by William McIlvanney, this video comes in five parts and our thanks go to the original uploader.” (twohundredpercent)

Rangers 0-1 Manchester United: Rangers’ five-man defence works…up to a point

November 25, 2010

“A late Wayne Rooney penalty meant United eventually found a way past Rangers’ back five. Walter Smith’s tactics had worked well so far in the competition, but he was without two key members of his usual five – Madjid Bougherra and Sasa Papac. He was also dealt an injury blow when Kyle Lafferty broke a bone in his hand the day before the game, so Vladimir Weiss played on the left.” (Zonal Marking)

Scottish Cup Match of the Week: Bo’ness United 0-2 Buckie Thistle

November 21, 2010

“I’m very jealous of the FA Cup in England. Not all of it – not the purely financial decision to play semi-finals at the National Stadium, not the ongoing domination of the trophy itself by a small number of teams. We have those bits already. It’s the early rounds, the qualifying rounds and preliminary rounds and the excitement it generates by the simple expedient of allowing pretty much anyone to enter.” (twohundredpercent)

Some Updates: Referees, Partick Thistle and Pakistan

November 13, 2010

“Time for a few brief updates on stories that we’ve been covering recently. These are all ongoing stories but there have been developments of varying degrees of seriousness lately. Firstly, the Scottish refereeing debates, following the saga which I refuse to call Cravengate. Just over a week ago, Celtic called the dogs off, with a statement from John Reid welcoming and agreeing to wait for the review to be carried out by the SFA under their new Chief Executive Stewart Regan. What this will involve, and whether Celtic will be happy with it, we’ll just have to wait and see.” (twohundredpercent)

First quarter report card

November 9, 2010

“So here we are after 11 games, all the SPL teams have now played each other, and it’s time to reflect on the early season title race, ahead of Wednesday’s big match on ESPN – Hearts v Celtic. It should be a cracker. Right, let’s start at the top – Rangers. Things could hardly have gone any better for Walter Smith’s side and Sunday’s victory at St Mirren Park on ESPN put the Gers back on top of the table. Only one slip up to date (a home draw with Inverness) has Rangers ahead of Celtic by one point. The question remains though – do Rangers have the stamina to stay there?” (ESPN)

Ref or end ‘em: Scottish football shrouded in refereeing controversy
“Nani’s recent goal for Manchester United against Tottenham caused a frisson of controversy in England. But you think Mark Clattenburg has it bad? Try refereeing Celtic or Rangers in Scotland. Making his debut for Just Football we welcome William Heaney who has more…” (Just Football)

Clearing Up A few Loose Ends: Celtic, Portsmouth and (Briefly) Wednesday

October 27, 2010

“It’s the football scandal of a generation. And it won’t go away. Colleen Rooney, photographed blatantly sipping a cool drink by a holiday swimming pool… while there’s a recession on!! I mean not one single British passport holder anywhere else in the world has done that in the last week. As to whether that shite really does sell newspapers, that’s a debate for someone else to start. I don’t know enough to offer an informed opinion, so I won’t offer any opinion. Something for Mail columnist Martin Samuel to ponder next time he writes about Uefa’s ‘financial fair play’ regulations.” (twohundredpercent)

The Old Firm yearn for more European glory

October 24, 2010

“Celtic have started the league season well. We’ve played eight, we’ve won eight. But there’s a familiar problem: Rangers have won all eight too. Something’s got to give today, when Lionel Messi’s favourite blue immovable object meets what was – until Tony Mowbray arrived in the East End – also an immovable object. By Scottish standards, at least. Who will win is as hard to predict as the league title. Celtic have the resources, but Walter Smith has steered a remarkably steady course through Rangers’ financial maelstrom. Neil Lennon’s side won the final derby of last season, but there was little to play for then, and his Celtic side are still unpredictable.” (WSC)

Celtic 1-3 Rangers: second half turnaround
“A typically fiery Old Firm derby saw Celtic lose their 100% record, and Rangers maintain theirs. Celtic were unchanged from their win last week at Dundee United, starting with a 4-4-2 system that saw Georgios Samaras dropping deep to the left.” (Zonal Marking)

Celtic 1-3 Rangers – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – SPL
(The 90th Minute)

Scotand And Rangers – Developing The ‘Anti-Cryuff’

October 16, 2010

Walter Smith
“When you don’t have the players you once had, do you go for cutting cloth accordingly or biting the bullet and tackling the root of the problem. Rangers have made a choice, and the Scottish national side are following suit. Robin Cowan despairs at Scottish ‘anti-football’.” (In Bed With Maradona)

Scottish League Restructuring: More Plans That Miss The Point

September 20, 2010

East Stirling
“Plans to restructure the Scottish League are coming so thick and fast at the moment that it’s not necessary to have an article to discuss or to dissect each one separately, but the latest plan to be floated by the SPL contains some elements that are worse than most.” (twohundredpercent)

Celtic – If You Know The History

September 9, 2010

“Another nail was hammered into the coffin of Scottish football last week when all three of their remaining entrants failed to qualify for the Europa League, leaving only Rangers to fly the flag. Nowhere was the disappointment more keenly felt than among Celtic supporters, who saw their beloved Hoops unceremoniously dumped out 4-0 by mid-ranking Dutch side Utrecht, after squandering a 2-0 lead from the home leg. This followed Celtic’s elimination from the qualifying stages of the Champions League by Portuguese side Braga, and meant that another European adventure was cut short almost before it had started. Manager Neil Lennon probably spoke for all fans when he complained, ‘I’m fed up with coming back from Europe with my backside being smacked’.” (The Swiss Ramble)

The Celtic and Rangers Issus

September 3, 2010

“You’ll have noticed that we haven’t yet looked to Scotland on IBWM. Today is the day and, invariably, we must start in Glasgow with Celtic and Rangers. Just this once. IBWM welcomes Tom Hall.” (In Bed with Maradona)

Scotland’s scarce ticket supply

September 3, 2010

“The sole Belgian fan who travelled to support his team in Armenia last September was both mocked and pitied in his home country. However, many of the roughly 1,000 Scotland fans who recently paid £50 to join or renew their membership of the Scotland Supporters Club only to be denied a ticket for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier in Lithuania may regard him with envy.” (WSC)

Motherwell 0-1 Celtic – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – SPL

August 29, 2010

“Celtic shifted their focus towards the Scottish Premier League, after a midweek loss in the Europa League, with an away match against Motherwell. The match highlights can be found here at Free Soccer Highlights.” (The 90th Minute)

Rangers: The Future Is As Murky As Ever

August 19, 2010

“This weekend the News of the World reported that the Andrew Ellis takeover of Rangers was back on, this time with funding from the almost inevitable Russian tycoon, in the form of Vladimir Antonov. The ‘paper quoted a “source close to” Antonov who claimed the deal was ‘99% complete’. This apparently came as news to Rangers who immediately denied any knowledge, and indeed to Antonov who also denied that any contact had been made, though he didn’t deny an interest. At the moment it seems likely to be yet another red herring in the ongoing Rangers saga, but for all the denials there is some plausibility to the idea that Ellis and Antonov might have teamed up. Antonov has the cash and is searching actively for a football club in which to invest it.” (twohundredpercent)

The Fans’ Season Preview: Celtic

August 18, 2010

“Hopes for the season: I have rarely felt as pessimistic about an impending season as I do about this one. Last month I would have said ‘to avoid embarrassing ourselves in the Champions League’, but we’ve already been knocked out of that particular competition before it’s even really started. I still expect us to win the title though, and a run in the Europa League would be nice, even if it does sound like a gay Bulgarian pop duo. I’m not holding my breath.” (Sabotage Times)

McGeady could open the floodgates

August 16, 2010

“He’s probably oblivious to it all, but Aiden McGeady might just be about to spark another Russian revolution. McGeady’s £9.5 million move to Spartak Moscow from Celtic might have raised more than a few eyebrows among Scotland’s football fraternity but others could soon follow his lead.” (ESPN)